Basic Kirlian Photography

Kirlian Photograph

Kirlian photography is a high voltage, contact print photography. The process is simple. Sheet film is placed on top of a metal plate, called the discharge or film plate. The object to photograph is placed on top of the film. If the object to be Kirlian photographed is inanimate, such as a coin or leaf, a earth ground is connected to the object (See Diagram).

High voltage is applied to the plate momentarily to make an exposure. The corona discharge between the object and discharge plate passes through and is recorded onto the film. When film is developed you have a Kirlian photograph of the object.

Note: When making a kirlian photography of a person or a living subject - never ground or allow a ground to touch the subject when making the exposure as this will cause a nasty shock. For additional information on kirlian photography, read our ONLINE ARTICLE or purchase the definitive book on kirlian photography titled :
A Hands on Guide to Kirlian Photography

Short History of Kirlian Photography

Kirlian photography is named after Semyon Davidovich Kirlian and his wife Valentina who began their work with high voltage photography in 1939. Kirlian collaborated with his wife for over 30 years developing equipment and studying electro-photography.

The Kirlian's work was first made known to the general public in this country by a book published in 1970 by Shelia Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder titled "Psychic discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain". Kirlian work became so well know that the field of high voltage electro-photography is called Kirlian Photography.

Although Kirlian wasn't the first to study electro-photography. The field of electro-photography can be traced back to the late 1700s. At this time Georg Christoph Lictenberg noted the pictures made in dust create by static electricity and electric sparks. Nicola Tesla (1880) photographed many corona discharges using his famous Tesla coil. In the early 1900s, Russian researcher Yakov Narkevich-Todka exhibited electro photographs he had made. A little later, Dr. F.F. Strong of Tufts University Medical School used a Tesla coil to make electro-photographs of his hand.

Paranormal Claims for Kirlian Photography Devices for Sale on the Internet

There are numerous Kirlian devices being sold on the internet today. To sell their devices the corona discharge in the resulting kirlian photograph is claimed to be paranormal or hold information that can be decrypted by the company's Kirlian researchers. All my research to date shows the corona discharge can be explained by employing known physical laws, like changes in subjects skin resistance (due to factors like; stress-lying, illness, fatigue, alcohol consumption, etc) without the necessity of invoking paranormal (bio-plasma) factors. Some other variable factors influencing the resulting Kirlian picture including the object's pressure against film, air humidity, air pressure, voltage, frequency, and exposure time. If anyone has any evidence to the contrary, I would be more than happy to examine that data.

We have never made any "paranormal" claims to sell our Kirlian photography devices

Our devices are sold to make brilliant Kirlian photographs. If one wants to do paranormal research with our devices that fine. Just know we make no claim that any interpretation of the corona discharge is due to anything other than standard variable physical parameters as already outlined previously. If you discover something different, please let us know. We are open to examine any new evidence or data that comes along. Kirlian photography devices and components that are available are provide below. Sample pictures taken with our devices are shown above and below.

Aura Cameras

I am asked frequently about the Aura cameras for sale. From what I understand from their sales information, these aura cameras measure the galvanic skin resistances from the subjects hand. A computer uses that skin resistance information to produce and colorize an aura around the subject on a monitor. A copy of the monitor image is printed and sold to the customer. Is this Kirlian photography? No it is not. Aura cameras and the photographs they produce are not being sold or marketed as Kirlian cameras and Kirlian photographs. Many people are making the erroneous connection to Kirlian photography since the corona discharge photographed around the subject in the Kirlian photograph is many times referred to as an aura. Kirlian photography is a photograph of a high voltage corona discharge around the subject.

What's my opinion of these cameras and their resulting pictures? From the sales data we know that whomever programmed the computer to colorize the "aura" from the GSR information also choose what color to assign. As far as I know, Galvanic Skin Resistance (GSR) is an indicator of stress, but only after a baseline has been established for that particular subject. I have not seen ny scientific data to assign any other meaning, other than stress, to the GSR in human subjects. So to interpret the colorize aura to mean anything significant, other than a possible stress level, at this point in time is invalid.


Kirlian Photography Device

Kirlian Photography Device

The Model 4 has all photography functions on the front panel.

(Custom Order: 4-8 weeks delivery)

These include the on/off power switch, discharge switch, Hi-Low frequency switch and variable frequency control. The discharge plate is located on the left hand side of the device. The terms discharge plate and film plate mean one and the same.

The on/off switch provides main power to the circuit. discharge switch is a momentary contact switch that applies the electrical power to the discharge plate. The frequency control varies the frequency of the electrical power going to the discharge plate.

Additional Features:

  • External Power binding posts for portable field work
  • External Trigger binding posts, to make exposures at a distance using a simple switch or relay.
  • Monitor binding posts, to connect to an oscilloscope to monitor frequency and pulse rate of internal oscillator used to energize the high voltage circuit.
  • 1/4" Jack for connecting a foot switch. Allows photographer to activate discharge using the foot switch. Using the foot switch allows the photographer to free his or her hand.
  • This device is designed to work with all 4" X 5" color, b/w 4" X 5" sheet film and paper as well as polaroid film.
  • Make to used with transparent discharge plate to create kirlian photographs using standard lens cameras: digital, film and video.

    Kirlian Photography Manual (pdf file 1.8 meg)

KPD-04 - $389.95
Kirlian Photography Device

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Transparent Discharge Plate

Transparent Discharge Plate

To take Kirlian photographs using a standard 35mm film camera, digital camera or video camera, requires the use of a transparent discharge plate. A transparent discharge plate is constructed from three main components; a 4" x 5" piece of glass that has a transparent conductive coating (typically tin oxide) on one side, see parts list, a transfer plate and connecting HV wire. The transparency of our transparent discharge plates surpasses 90 percent.


Transparent Plate Manual (pdf file 1 meg)


Transparent Discharge Plate - $129.95
Transparent Discharge Plate for Camera

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Foot Switch for the Kirlian Photography Device

Foot Switch for Kirlian Photography Device

Handle Kirlian Photography Device With Ease and Comfort.


The Foot switch for the Kirlian Photography Device allows the photographer to have both hands free and concentrate on taking the the photograph while setting off the discharge with his or her foot.



Foot Switch - $14.95
Foot Switch for the Kirlian Photography Device

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Kirlian Photography Book by John Iovine

Kirlian Photography Book

A Step by Step, Hands On Guide.


In Kirlian Photography, John Iovine gives you all the hands-on guidance you need to produce Kirlian photographs using standard 35mm or video cameras. You'll also learn about the history of electro photography and may of its possible applications in medicine, industry, and the military. Especially illuminating is his discussion of the "phantom leaf" aura that continues to baffle scientists.













Kirlian Photography - $24.95
Kirlian Photography Book by John Iovine

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